January 16, 2013

Earlier this week Revel Systems, a Point-of-Sale solutions provider, became the first company to offer EMV-enabled hardware through an iPad-based POS solution. The company is offering EMV compliance to the merchants that it works with well ahead of the deadlines set by the major credit card companies requiring merchants to accept EMV. But many businesses would do well to make the switch to EMV as soon as possible since making the switch now - even before the card companies' deadlines - can save money for businesses, says Chris Ciabarra, Revel's CTO and co-founder.

Those savings are the reason many clients have been pushing Revel Systems to release EMV compliance hardware early, Ciabarra explains. Revel works with some rather large businesses, some of whom pay thousands of dollars annually to meet traditional PCI compliance standards for card security that card companies have long required of merchants, he says. But Visa and other card companies have said that they will not require merchants to stay PCI-compliant if they are EMV-compliant. And merchants can take advantage of those savings if they make the switch now even though Visa's deadline for merchants to accept EMV isn't until 2016, Ciabarra explains.

[See Related: Why More Banks Are Moving Toward EMV Adoption]

And businesses who switch to EMV early will also be able to take advantage of the greater security that the technology provides, Ciabarra points out, giving businesses another reason to add EMV as soon as possible. "The clients who have been hacked the most want to jump at it," Ciabarra says.

Ciabarra says that right now the biggest barrier to widespread EMV adoption among merchants is simply awareness. "Big retailers know about it, but smaller businesses aren' as aware," he explains. He predicts that EMV compliance will start with the bigger retailers and then trickle down to smaller businesses over the next few years - just as happened with PCI compliance - as the deadlines for EMV compliance approach.

From Revel's perspective it also made sense to push out EMV hardware just to get it done and out of the way, Ciabarra adds. With so many developments taking place out the Point-of-Sale such as mobile POS, EMV integration and digital wallets, those working in this space have a lot to tackle in the next few years. And who knows what the next point-of-sale technology right around the corner may be. In this environment it's bet to move quickly, Ciabarra explains. "The more things we can put out early the better," he says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...